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Leak closes McLean post office

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

The McLean post office has been closed for several days due to unsafe conditions within the building. Those in McLean with post boxes now have to drive to the Freeville post office to pick up their mail.

McLEAN — If you’re thinking of sending off a parcel at the McLean post office, be prepared to instead drive 3 miles up the road to the Freeville post office, where mailing services for McLean have been shifted since Friday because of “safety and sanitation issues.”

The building at 1 School St., stood empty Monday with a notice on the window informing customers that the post office is temporarily quartered at the Freeville post office at 46 Main St., due to “potentially unsafe conditions.”

Maureen Marion, a U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman, would not specify what the sanitation issues were, but a worker was on site Monday to fix a leak above the post office. The workman would not say what was leaking and the apartment’s tenant declined to comment and other tenants were not available.

Marion said she expects the move to Freeville to be a short term solution and pointed out that the office has all the necessary supplies, so it is preferable to locating the office at the McLean Fire Department, which had also been considered. Marion said she was not aware of any damage to any materials in the post office.

Roger Hatfield of Florida, who owns the building at 1 School St., said he expected the problem to be resolved soon, attributing it to an upstairs tenant’s leaky tub. He said the leak is dripping into a vacant bathroom behind the post office and not into the post office itself.

The postal service lease was renewed last July for another five years, he said, adding it passed inspection then.

Across the street from the post office, the owner of McLean’s 5 Stop Shop, Tom Ludgate, said the post office has had problems recently, noting a past robbery and a methamphetamine bust inside the building.

In October of 2015, four people were charged with running a methamphetamine lab out of Apartment C, the same apartment where the leak was reported.

Hatfield said those tenants have moved out and added, “You can’t control the tenants, I guess. If you could it would be good.”

Ludgate said he thinks if the problem drips on, McLean residents would miss having a local post office.

“Most people I’m sure want to continue having a post office here, or move to the fire station,” he said. Residents rely on post office boxes because they don’t get mail delivery.

The McLean office has 147 post office box holders, Marion said. She said McLean resident should bring identification when they collect their mail in Freeville because the tellers handing their mail may not know them.